Summer romance memories change with time

July 3, 2012

Ah, yes. We can hardly let the summer start without thoughts of that old classic, the summer romance. Songs have been written about it; poets have lauded it, and young men and women have dreamt about it.

The problem today, though, is that no one really knows what romance is anymore. Oh, sure we’ve had our obvious definitions displayed in the past. You know, couples holding hands, couples strolling arm in arm, a quick peck on the cheek and sharing spoonfuls of food. And that’s just in the seagull community. Imagine the humanoid group. I suppose things changed when the personal ads came out and started the movement to really put it out there in terms of what the ideal date would entail. No longer were we willing to settle for the blind date. We became the age of all or nothing. The personal ads were not only specific, but downright equal.

As an example, “Single male seeks any female who can bake cakes, likes solitude, must be able to do 20 loads of wash a day and stirs up a mean tuna noodle casserole. My interests are of the quiet variety and I am currently pursuing a legal career specializing in appeals. Send photo and note to Kansas State Prison, Cell Block D.” This kind of says it all.

Then we took a giant leap from personals to internet romance. So you really don’t have to meet anyone at the beach and get all sandy; you can start the process for that summer romance either by fax or photocopy machine at the nearest pharmacy. But here again, people ran into problems. In filling out the profiles for online dating services, it became obvious that a great many candidates couldn’t pass a lie detector test if it was administrated by their own mother.

And you can forget about a recent picture. Unless you were into high school yearbook poses from the ‘50s, you would have to Photoshop or at least airbrush all kinds of stuff onto the image, little things like a head of hair, or a set of teeth and gums that look like they weren’t bought at the local variety store. So once again, we are faced with the definition of romance and how we get there today. Now, some observers will tell you that the summer romance almost always involves the popular happy hour at the local bar. This might have been true way back when, but today the image is of pouring an ounce of liquor into someone’s belly button while they’re stretched out on the bar and “Proud Mary” blares in the background. Unfortunately, the chance you take is that guys in bars suffer from short-term memory loss the next day. It’s scientifically proven that after someone downs a case of beer, the brain resembles most of the shredded documents left by a hurried politician called before a Senate hearing.

It’s true that guys are often seen leaving the bar with their new love interest, maybe a coat rack or part of an air conditioner, mistakenly believed to be a woman, just too shy to talk a lot, but it’s all pretty harmless and chalked up as a lesson learned.

Romance in bars year ago was more accurate and predictable. Guys told you they were airline pilots, bought you a bunch of drinks with little umbrellas and then went into a complete catatonic state. Women were either pretend stewardesses or actresses. You could be sure, though, that everyone lived with their parents and could be found at the nearest bowling alley on a Saturday night in the winter months. The summer romance is still ripe around here, though. I saw a gal the other day holding hands with the back pockets of the guy’s jeans. She was deep in thought; I could tell by the way her short shorts were unzipped and hanging off her hips, like laundry flapping in the breeze on a clothesline.

Perhaps the old song from Patti Page, singing of sand dunes and salty air, will just have to bring back those memories of summer romance. Ah, never mind, I don’t want to know what’s behind those sand dunes, now that I think about it.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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